CURTAILING POLICE STOPS

My last post addressed the necessity for law enforcement to accept the body camera as a valuable tool. This discussion included the inherent issues associated with its use, such as transparency, credibility, and the review of the footage both by the officers and the public. Click here-http://billcweiss.com/?p=348

Recently, some have voiced concerns in the media regarding what constitutes a legitimate stop when police are conducting traffic stops and stopping people on the street. The argument is that the police pull over far too many drivers, and stop and detain too many individuals on the street, with far too many fatal results. There are two specific articles I am referencing. The first was “Setting rules for police stops,” dated June 12, 2015, in the Opinion section of the Los Angeles Times on page A16. The second was “For a safer America, curtail traffic stops,” dated August 13, 2015, also in the Opinion section of the Los Angeles Times on page A15. http://www.latimes.com

Although I understand some of the basic thought process articulated in the arguments, in today’s world this is far too impractical and lacks common sense. If police did not legally detain and question possible suspects, conduct traffic stops, and enforce traffic laws, this world would be in a much worse place than it is now. The amount of crime that has been solved by lawful detentions, solid investigations, and traffic stops is significant. These encounters are a major part of the backbone of what law enforcement is about.

For example, recently a suspect in a 1989 Hollywood rival gang killing was arrested after California Highway Patrol officers stopped the vehicle he was driving in Salinas after they noticed a headlight wasn’t working properly. They arrested him on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs. Initially, officers weren’t aware he was wanted on murder as he had assumed different identities. During booking his true identity was discovered. His fingerprints linked him to the October 1989 killing. He had been on the run for nearly 26 years.

I find it hard to fathom a society where we are discouraging police officers from conducting traffic stops, detentions, investigations, and law enforcement duties in general, without proposing any viable option.

Instead of addressing the problem of violence and deadly force that may result from encounters in this manner, why not hold those people accountable who do not follow the rules, do not obey the lawful orders and commands of an officer, display a total disregard for law enforcement, and disobey the law? We are holding police officers accountable for their actions. Why not hold those responsible who decide to attack or forcibly take away the weapon of an officer? Why change the legal process to benefit the criminals who want to attack cops? #police-communityrelations

As a retired Lieutenant and 32-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Bill Weiss worked various patrol, custody, administrative, investigative, and special assignments. He has been an Incident Commander for several major tactical incidents. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California, with a Master’s degree in Public Administration.

http://www.billcweiss.com

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